Wearable technology is computer technology that has been incorporated into clothing or other wearable items. It has grown in popularity over the last few years, along with the rise in health consciousness and a return to wearing sportswear for fashion, and not just physical exercise. Fitbit is an example of a company that produces various types of wearable tech to track your heart rate, calories burned and other such fitness statistics. They have a wide variety of uses in the fitness market as a device for collecting and sharing data from day to day life, including everything from telling you how many steps you have walked to monitoring your sleep patterns.
Although the wearables market is in its infancy, the global market is expected to reach £4.5 billion by 2018. This increase comes largely as wearable technology becomes more accessible (monitoring athletes as they exercise via sensor arrays has been carried out for years) and the combination of consumers embracing technology into any and all aspects of their lives with fitness technology becoming smaller and cheaper creates a perfect storm for a sector that’s all set to explode.
If the current communication technology market can be used as a base then it suggests that hobbyists and enthusiasts will become the main drivers with the largest market share in wearable technology, for instance, Stratista currently estimates 2.08 billion people have smartphones, which is a figure that is predicted to increase to 2.69 billion by 2019. This is backed by the exponential growth of both mobile and wearable technologies over the past ten years, even with the second dot-com bubble disrupting the social media share values and the Global Financial Crisis.
Wearables also offer exciting potential for connecting brands with their audiences. The devices can gather robust customer data – including location, behaviour and activity levels, which can be used to deliver personalised marketing messages. But this is just the tip of the iceberg – forward-thinking brands are looking further than purely gathering data, to ways that they can create marketing campaigns that utilise the unique functionality of wearable devices. Nike used data gleaned from individuals who used their running app to create 100,000 personalised one-minute film animations, entitled ‘Your Year with Nike+’. The content had been shaped using location, weather and movement data.
The future of wearable technology looks bright, especially being sold into the leisure and fitness industry, using technology which has been viewed as the preserve of elite athletes now available to consumers, it’s an exciting emerging market that will attract both sport enthusiasts and casual gym-goers alike.
Here at Bigwave, staff have embraced the wearable technology. From pebble watch funding backers to die-hard apple watch users, we are an office of step counters and notification kings! What wearable tech are you excited about? Tweet us at @Bigwavemedia. Find out more about what we do at www.bigwavemedia.co.uk.